Ten-year-old pupil designs first clarinet in space

A ten-year-old from Worcestershire has won an IET and Beano competition to redesign an item she couldn’t live without on Mars

A 10-year-old pupil has won a competition run by the IET and Beano with her design for a clarinet that works in space.

The Life on Mars competition was aimed at pupils aged six to 13, encouraging them to think about what they couldn’t live without in space, and redesign it so it would work outside of the earth’s atmosphere.


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Elin, an aspiring astrophysicist from Worcestershire, redesigned her beloved clarinet. She was selected as the competition winner by a panel of judges from the IET, aspiring astronaut Sophie Harker, and Beano editor John Anderson.

Elin said: “I love everything about space and my dream job is to become an astrophysicist. I love playing my clarinet and would want to take it with me – but I realised I wouldn’t be able to play it while wearing a space helmet. To make it work, I designed it to have an air supply tank which would blow air through the instrument, I also added an amplifier to make sure I can hear the instrument due to the change in air pressure and gravity.”


See footage from the clarinet launch

As part of the competition prize, the clarinet was developed into a 3D prototype and sent a distance of 35km to the edge of space where temperatures dropped as low as -63ºC, before it returned to earth reaching speeds of over 150mph.

Elin attended the launch and saw her design become the first clarinet in space.

The prize also included Beano illustrators turning Elin into a cartoon starring alongside famous characters Dennis and Gnasher, featuring in the 4 September edition of the Beano comic.


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The competition was part of the IET’s Engineer a Better World campaign, encouraging and inspiring the next generation of engineers.

More information on the campaign is available at https://www.engineer-a-better-world.org/